Online poker is slowly returning to the United States, with two states already permitting players to compete online and a third, New Jersey, slated to launch its first online casinos later this month.
Nevada already became the first state to allow online video poker games earlier this year. In early November, it was joined by Delaware, which allowed sites affiliated with three in-state casinos to launch web casinos featuring poker, slots, blackjack and roulette.
While gaming options have been somewhat limited in Nevada and Delaware, New Jersey is rolling out a more extensive slate of offerings. Last week, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement granted its first online gambling licenses to several large, international companies in the most aggressive move by a state in regards to online gambling yet.
“We are excited to see the launch of Internet gaming in New Jersey,” American Gaming Association Chief Executive Geoff Freeman told Reuters “New Jersey will send a strong message to all states.”
There are bills pending to legalize online gambling in several other states, including California, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, and more states are likely to follow in those footsteps.
The process by which New Jersey is allowing online video poker games into the state is being viewed as a landmark move in the process of suitability, in which those charged with regulating the industry assess the conduct of online gambling companies before giving them the go ahead to enter the industry.
Most notably, New Jersey declined to offer a transactional waiver to PokerStars, once one of the U.S.’s most popular poker sites. PokerStars fell out of favor with regulators after it continued its U.S. operations even after Congress outlawed internet gambling in 2006.
The online gambling sites will be available through the web and also via smartphones. Players in Nevada can already play online poker on their iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices, while New Jersey is expected to roll out similar technology later this year and Delaware expected to do so in 2014.